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Lalvani raps lack of govt support

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Lalvani raps lack of govt support | Thaiger

BANGKOK: Mega-investor Gulu Lalvani has again criticized the Thai government’s failure to wholeheartedly support the development of recreational boating in Thailand, arguing that it is giving neighboring countries an edge. Referring to Malaysia’s aggressive promotion of Langkawi as a destination for this kind of top-end tourism, Kuala Lumpur’s imaginative legislative approach and the huge investment that has poured in as a result, Mr Lalvani told reporters, “Dr Mahathir’s policies have made Langkawi – a duty-free island nowhere near as beautiful as Phuket – a flourishing center of regional marine activity, at Phuket’s expense.” Mr Lalvani was speaking at a press conference held to officially launch this year’s King’s Cup Regatta and to announce that his electronics company, Binatone, and his Royal Phuket Marina Resort & Spa have signed up as principal sponsors of the event. Building up marine activity “means jobs for local people”, said Mr Lalvani, appearing baffled as to why Thai authorities seem uninterested. “Places like Turkey, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, Florida, whole stretches of Australia – and now Malaysia – have built their tourist economies on high-spending, recreational boating and shunned the alternative of ever-cheaper, ecologically damaging, mass package tourism. “While the Thai authorities appear to see yachts as a means of earning large sums in importation taxes from a very few wealthy people, the reality is that the countries mentioned above thrive largely on chartering – ordinary people who prefer to spend their vacation peacefully exploring islands by sailboat, rather than crammed into bulging resorts with inadequate infrastructure. “Not a single one of those economies blossomed until the country’s government saw the light,” said Mr Lalvani. “Marine tourism only thrives where government regulations and taxes support boat ownership. “And the growth of an event like the King’s Cup Regatta into a world-class event will always be restricted, despite the fine efforts of its organizers, until the same conditions apply. “I believe that, with the right attitudes at all levels in the community, and the right government policies in place, Phuket can and will become the yachting capital of Asia. And I want to be a part, just like the King’s Cup, of making that happen,” said Mr Lalvani. “Being the King’s Cup principal sponsor makes a lot of sense for us,” Mr Lalvani told reporters. “I believe that the King’s Cup has all the ingredients to become a world-class event, like Antigua Week in the Caribbean, Australia’s Hamilton Race Week and Ireland’s Cork Week, or even England’s Cowes Week.” Other sponsors for the regatta, which takes place from November 30 to December 7, include the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the Kata Group, American Express Bank, QBE, House of Kangaroo (Europe), Sunsail, the Evason Phuket Resort & Spa, Phuket Island Beer, Mom Tri’s Boathouse, TQPR (Thailand), Nautica, Land-Rover Thailand, Phuket Magazine, BJC and Coca-Cola. To date, 57 boats are confirmed as competitors in the 2002 event. Organizers expect that number to rise to around 100.

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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